Fireworks are discouraged these holidays

Consumer fireworks cause serious but preventable injuries to children, as either users or bystanders.

Children and their families are encouraged to enjoy pyrotechnical displays conducted by professionals at designated areas.

Despite the annual outcry over the indiscriminate use of fireworks during festive periods and the affiliated cruelty to animals, very little is known or has been published about injuries sustained by humans in South Africa.

Fireworks produce light, noise and air pollution. The explosions of fireworks also release poisonous chemicals and particle-laden smoke, which pollute the environment.

Wildlife living downwind from fireworks displays is exposed to the hazards of these contamination.

Children, because of their curious nature and the excitement surrounding fireworks, are particularly vulnerable.

They also cannot readily appreciate the dangers involved or act positively in an emergency, hence their vulnerability to firework injuries.

Firecrackers and sparklers, which contain up to 130 g of powder charge and may generate temperatures exceeding 500 degrees Celsius.

The danger of firecrackers is the power and unpredictable timing of the gunpowder explosion; they should be classified as explosives. Firecracker/ rocket injuries primarily involve the hands and eyes, while sparklers either cause burns directly or through setting clothing alight.

Malfunctioning devices account for only a small percentage of injuries.

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